Buy SA Chicken, Fairplay urges
Buy SA chicken, FairPlay urges Bekezela Phakathi The FairPlay Movement, an organisation that aimsto fight predatory trade practicesand poultry dumping in SA,says the chicken industry master plan should include detailed commitments from local wholesalers and retailers to buy localpoultry products. The poultry sectoris strategically important to SAasa sourceof employment and agricultur al production, and the statehas moved to protect it from unfair competition. It hassufferedhuge job lossesin recent years and has blamed its demise on cheap chicken imports from Brazil, US and Europe. Latelastyear, the government announced the master plan for the poultry industry that includes measur esto boost domestic demand, looks at the affordability oflocal broiler products and accessto new markets. A similar plan for the sugar industry was signedearlier this month. However, a key difference is that industrial usersand retailershave explicitly agreedto prioritise local sugarproducers for three yearswith at least 80% of sugarconsumption to come from local farms and millers during the first year, increasingto 95% by 2023. During this period, the sugar industry hasagreedto price restraint, and to begin a processof managedrestructuring ofthe sectorto help diversify revenue sources. “FairPlay isproposing that a similar commitment be written into the chicken master plan, and we will be raising the issuewith wholesalers and retailers in this buy local chicken campaign,” Francois Baird, founder of the FairPlayMovement, said. He said the movement was pushing for aformal commitment from local wholesalers and retailers to prioritise local chicken over imports aspart of a campaignto give the struggling poultry sectora leg up. On Wednesday,the FairPlay Movement was joined by trade unions and the country’s official buy-local advocacyorganisation, Proudly SA, in launching a campaignto promote the consumption of local chicken. Baird saidthe campaign would be aimed at retailers and wholesalers, which buy significant quantities of imported chicken from producers that “engagein predatory trade practices;and at consumers who will be educated on the advantagesofbuying and eating SAchicken products”. He saidjobs could be saved and creatednot only to meet expanding consumption but also in imports replacement. “The poultr y master plan aims to create 5,000 jobs over the next few years. Mlamleli Pukwana, the general secretaryofthe recently launched Agricultural Food and Allied Democratic Workers Union (Afadwu), said the buy local chicken campaignwould help stemjob lossesacrossthe value chain.